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proper force and clearness into the mind of another-yet may it be a good and a solid evidence notwithstanding as much so as the ocular evidence for the reality of some isolated spot which I alone have been admitted to see, and which no human eyes but my own have ever once beheld. The evidence is not at all weakened by this monopoly. To myself it is every way as satisfying and strong as if thousands shared in it. At least, irrespective of them, the conviction on my own separate and independent view of the object of the question, may have been so perfect, as to require no additions. Yet, if not an addition, there is at least a pleasing harmony in the experience of men, who have been admitted to the view along with me. We might be strengthened and confirmed by our mutual assurance of a reality in things unknown to all but ourselves, and which to the generality of the world abide in deepest secrecy. And such too the sympathy, such the confirmation felt by the peculiar people,' in their converse with each other. They are a chosen generation, and have been translated out of darkness into the marvellous light of the gospel-each having the witness within himself, yet all prizing the discovery, when, on talking one to another, they find the consistency and the oneness of a common manifestation."-Vol. iv. pp. 67 – 72.
We must now dismiss these volumes of Dr. Chalmers, which we do with a full acknowledgment of the valuable new matter which they contain, and especially of the great improvements effected in the treatise “ on the Evidences of Christianity."
We shall look with considerable curiosity for the remaining volumes of this valuable edition; more especially for the promised new sermons, and the volumes on the “ Doctrines of Christianity,” selected from the Doctor's Lectures to the Senior Theological Class at the university of Edinburgh.
Geology and Mineralogy considered with Reference to Natural
Theology, by the Rev. Dr. Buckland. 2 vols. 8vo. pp. 727.
Plates. London: Pickering. 1836. This is the last, in many respects the most original, and as a whole decidedly the best of the Bridgewater Treatises. It is well known that the late Earl of Bridgewater, who died a few years ago, devised eight thousand pounds sterling to be paid by certain trustees to any person or persons appointed by the late President of the Royal Society, to write and publish one thousand copies of a work on the power, wisdom, and goodness of God, as manifested in the creation. That gentleman, Davies Gilbert, Esq. obtained the assistance of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London in determining upon the best method of securing the proposed object. But it is now almost generally admitted that the intention of the donor has been most imperfectly carried into effect. Instead of one book, eight separate treatises have been given to the world, by as many different authors, in twelve octavo volumes, exhibiting every variety of style, containing numberless repetitions, and not a few contradictions. Moreover, these treatises are sold at higher prices than booksellers would have charged, had they published them as speculations of their own. Now we venture to assert, that if the trustees had so managed the application of the funds as to produce, by competition, or otherwise, one able and comprehensive work, at a cheap rate, they would have insured its wide diffusion among that class of the community
which stands most in need of such instruction; have rendered good service to the cause of natural theology and of revealed truth, and have fulfilled more completely the design of the late Earl. As it now is, the works are so expensive, the publishing price is £7. 16s. 6d., that comparatively few persons will purchase them, and so voluminous, that still fewer will be able carefully, to peruse them. It is to be lamented that some of these treatises betray such marks of carelessness and haste, of languor and indifference, as might be expected in writers who have a given task assigned to them, without much regard to their own inclination. Yet with all the disadvantages and defects attendant upon the plan which has been pursued, the Bridgewater Treatises possess great merit; and the one by Professor Whewell on Astronomy and general Physics, considered with reference to Natural Theology, displays considerable research and power in the whole argument, which is conducted to a triumphant conclusion.
It is not our intention to write a review of this physico-theological series, but to invite the attention of our readers to the contents of Dr. Buckland's volumes which have recently issued from the press. They treat confessedly on a subject of great interest, -and discuss a science, if it can yet claim that name, in which the public are more than ordinarily interested, in consequence of the rapid disclosures it has made of the animal remains of a former world, and of the severity with which some zealots have attacked its conclusions, as though they were inimical to the statements of revelation. The spirit of sectarian hatred and ecclesiastical intolerance which denounced Dr. Hampden, as heterodox in divinity and ethics, has hurled its envenomed darts at the Canon of Christchurch, and the Reader in Geology and Mineralogy in the University of Oxford,—the learned author of the work before us. It may be justly deemed matter of surprise, that men investing themselves with the attributes of learning and religion, should regard with suspicion the study of natural phenomena. Yet it has ever thus happened to those who have trod the early and deliberate steps of scientific discovery; they have been misunderstood and misrepresented. The persecutors of Galileo conceived there was danger to religion in the discoveries of a science in which Newton and Kepler found demonstration of the most sublime natural perfections of the Creator. We believe, however, that opposition between science and revelation is absolutely impossible, when the facts in nature are correctly observed, and divine truth is correctly interpreted. This has been proved in many cases, and will ere long, we believe, be admitted
* What a striking contrast to all this is presented in the management of a small bequest made by a young enthusiast in Phrenological pursuits, Mr. W. R. Henderson. He wished to promote the circulation of that dubious book, Coombe's Constitution of Man, which, we believe, was originally published in octavo, at ten shillings; but his trustees realizing his funds, assigned a sum sufficient for publishing an edition of 2000 copies at half-a-crown, and now we see that it is obtaining a still wider circulation, by the means of an eighteen-penny edition, for intelligent “ individuals of the poorer classes and mechanics' institutions." Why has not the munificence of Lord Bridgewater been thus employed to provide a healthful aliment for the minds of that important portion of the community ?
in reference to geology. This consummation will assnredly be hastened by the treatise of Dr. Buckland. A more suitable author than the learned professor could scarcely have been appointed to produce such a work as this, having devoted, as he has, the greater part of his life to the study of the mineral structure of the earth, and being advantageously known to the learned world by the publication of his inaugural lecture at Oxford, seventeen years ago, and by his subsequent elaborate work entitled Reliquiæ Diluvian.
The present work exhibits the author's characteristic zeal and ardour in the pursuit of science, and cannot fail to repay the attention expended in its careful perusal. Its numerous facts are clearly and perspicuously stated, and well arranged ; and its inductions, with few exceptions, are fair and legitimate inferences. The author's design is thus announced : .“ Three important subjects of enquiry in Natural Theology come under consideration in the present Treatise.
“The first regards the inorganic Elements of the Mineral kingdom, and the actual dispositions of the Materials of the Earth : many of these, although produced or modified by the agency of violent and disturbing forces, afford abundant proofs of wise and provident Intention, in their adaptations to the uses of the Vegetable and Animal Kingdoms, and especially to the condition of Man.
“ The second relates to Theories which have been entertained respecting the Origin of the World and the derivation of existing systems of organic Life, by an eternal succession, from preceding individuals of the same species; or by gradual transmutation of one species into another. I have endeavoured to show, that to all these Theories the phenomena of Geology are decidedly opposed.
“ The third extends into the Organic Remains of a former World the same kind of investigation which Paley has pursued with so much success in his examination of the evidences of Design in the mechanical structure of the corporeal frame of Man, and of the inferior Animals which are placed with him on the present surface of the Earth.”—pp. vii. viii.
About a hundred pages of the work are devoted to an examination of the first two points indicated in the above arrangement, and the remaining portion is occupied by a minute investigation of those myriads of petrified remains, which are disclosed by the researches of geology, and which appear to have been made up, like living organic bodies, of “ clusters of contrivances,” which demonstrate the exercise of stupendous intelligence and power. We regard this as a most successful application of the principle employed by Ray, Derham, and Paley, and used in this case in reference to classes of objects but recently brought to light; inasmuch as it not only strengthens the general argument against Atheism and Polytheism, but supplies a chain of connected evidence of the continuous being, and unchanging perfections of the one living and true God.
Among the first chapters in the book, which may be regarded as introductory, is one of great value, on the “ consistency of geological discoveries with sacred history;" in which the author shows, that while these discoveries require some modification of the commonly received interpretation of the Mosaic narrative, this admission neither involves any impeachment of the sacred text, nor of the judgment of those who formerly interpreted it, in the absence of facts that have but recently been brought to light. An examination of the several hypotheses proposed for reconciling the brief account of Moses with acknowledged facts is then instituted; and the author comes to precisely the same conclusion, as that stated in some geological essays recently inserted in our Magazine. We cite his opinion.
“The first verse of Genesis therefore seems explicitly to assert the creation of the Universe; 'the heaven,' including the sidereal systems; and the earth more especially specifying our own planet, as the subsequent scene of the operations of the six days about to be described : no information is given as to events which may have occurred on this earth, unconnected with the history of man, between the creation of its component matter recorded in the first verse, and the era at which its history is resumed in the second verse ; nor is any limit fixed to the time during which these intermediate events may have been going on; millions of millions of years may have occupied the indefinite interval, between the beginning in which God created the heaven and the earth, and the evening or commencement of the first day of the Mosaic narrative.”-pp. 21, 22.
The interpretation is not a forced one, intended to harmonize with a mere speculation, but one which is in itself reasonable, and in accordance with well ascertained facts, inasmuch as the transition, secondary, and tertiary series of rocks exhibit organic remains, which clearly had an existence before the creation of man ; while the primary stratified rocks are totally destitute of snch fossils. The evidence derived from these phenomena, in favour of natural theology, is thus stated :
“ --they clearly point out to us a period antecedent to the habitable state of the earth, and consequently antecedent to the existence of its inhabitants. When our minds become thus familiarized with the idea of a beginning and first creation of the beings we see around us, the proofs of design, which the structure of those beings affords, carry with them a more forcible conviction of an intelligent Creator, and the hypothesis of an eternal succession of causes, is thus at once removed. We argue thus : it is demonstrable from Geology that there was a period when no organic beings had existence; these organic beings must therefore have had a beginning subsequently to this period; and where is that beginning to be found but in the will and fiat of an intelligent and all wise Creator ?"-pp. 58, 59.
An objection has often been raised to the Mosaic narrative by sceptical writers, that it gives no detailed account of geological phenomena. It would be quite as reasonable to object, that it makes no specific mention of the satellites of Jupiter, or of the rings of Saturn. "The objection is ably met and satisfactorily disposed of by Dr. Buckland. He says,
“ We may fairly ask of those persons, who consider physical science a fit subject for revelation, what point they can imagine short of a communication of Omniscience, at which such a revelation might have stopped, without imperfections of omission less in degree, but similar in kind, to that which they impute to the existing narrative of Moses? A revelation of so much only of astronomy, as was known to Copernicus, would have seemed imperfect after the discoveries of Newton; and a revelation of the science of Newton would have appeared defective to La Place : a revelation of all the chemical knowledge of the eighteenth century, would have been as deficient in comparison with the information of the present day, as what is now known in this science will probably appear before the termination of another age; in the whole circle of sciences there is not one to which this argument may not be extended, until we should require from revelation a full developement of all the mysterious agencies that uphold the mechanism of the material world."--p. 15.
It is further argued, that such a revelation would be unsuited to human nature as at present constituted ; and at variance with the avowed end of all divine disclosures, which has not been to impart intellectual knowledge, but saving truth.
In pursuance of the main design proposed in this treatise, the author examines the composition of various rocks; their relation to each other, the relations of the earth and its inhabitants to man, and finds in each of these particulars abundant evidence of design, indicating the presiding influence of supreme intelligence. But it is amid the relics of a past creation, that the Doctor has most successfully discovered those proofs of design, which give completeness to the whole system of organic nature, and confirm human faith in the wisdom, goodness, and constant agency of a great first cause. For us to present even an epitome of the multifarious and interesting details brought forward in this examination would be impracticable in our limits. The secrets of nature revealed in the fossil organic remains, are truly astonishing, and cannot fail to interest deeply all who study them. We must, however, content ourselves with an extract or two, which may be sufficient to show the scope of the whole argument. In the anatomy of the ancient animals, which geologists have examined, there are found organs for capturing and killing their prey; and as contrivances for destruction may seem inconsistent with the benevolence of the Creator, who is supposed to dispense the greatest amount of enjoyment to the greatest number of individuals ; it is argued by the Professor that the aggregate of animal enjoyment is increased, and that of pain diminished by the existence of carnivorous races. The following passage will show the strength of the argument.
"--it is a dispensation of kindness to make the end of life to each individual, as easy as possible. The most easy death is proverbially that which is least expected ; and though for moral reasons peculiar to our own species, we deprecate the sudden termination of our mortal life, yet in the case of every inferior animal, such a termination of existence is obviously the most desirable. The pains of sickness and decrepitude of age are the usual precursors of death, resulting from gradual decay; these in the human race alone, are susceptible of alleviation from internal sources of hope and consolation; and give exercise to some of the highest charities, and most tender sympathies of humanity. But throughout the whole creation of inferior animals, no such sympathies exist; there is no affection or regard for the feeble and aged, no alleviating care to relieve the sick; and the extension of life through lingering stages of decay and of old age, would to each individual be a scene of protracted misery. Under such a system, the natural world would present a mass of daily suffering, bearing a large proportion to the total amount of animal enjoyment. By the existing dispensations of sudden destruction and rapid succession, the feeble and disabled are speedily relieved from suffering, and the world is at all times crowded with myriads of sentient and happy beings ; and though to many individuals their allotted share of life be often short, it is usually a period of uninterrupted gratification ; whilst the momentary pain of sudden and unexpected death is an evil infinitely small, in comparison with the enjoyments of which it is the termination. * * *
“Besides the desirable relief of speedy death on the approach of debility or age, the carnivora confer a further benefit on the species which form their prey, as they control their excessive increase, by the destruction of many individuals in youth and health. Without this salutary check, each species would soon multiply to an extent, exceeding in a fatal degree their supply of